Scope and arrangement
The Sophia Delza Papers document the rich and varied career of this unique American dancer, writer, and tai chi teacher. The collection consists chiefly of correspondence, writings, programs, photographs, and original artwork. It covers her entire professional career to some degree, but most thoroughly documents the period from the 1950s to the early 1990s (the years in which she was most actively involved in promoting and teaching tai chi in the United States) through correspondence, programs, photographs, and writings. The collection contains less material relating to Delza's earlier work in modern dance, but does include programs, music scores, scripts and some dance notations for her "dance-monologue" concert pieces, dating from the late 1930s to the early 1940s; also included is one scrapbook that contains clippings of reviews and programs for her modern dance recitals. Although the strength of the collection lies in its documentation of Delza's professional career, her distinctive and vivid personality clearly emerges through the correspondence, journals and informal writings, and also is evident in her published writings. Also included are selected personal papers of her husband, Cook Glassgold, which Delza had retained after his death. A prolific visual artist in addition to her other talents, the collection contains numerous examples of Delza's original artwork. Most of the series contain at least some materials in a Chinese written language.
- Dunning, Jennifer. "Sophia Delza Glassgold, 92, Dancer and Teacher." New York Times, 1996 Jul. 7, 21.
- Fowler, Glenn Bobbi. "A. Cook Glassgold; Art expert directed postwar relief drive." New York Times, 1985 Feb. 15, A24.
- Karlan, Gertrude. "Sophia Delza." Dance Observer, 1934 Aug.-Sept., 1, 67.
The Sophia Delza papers are arranged in nine series:
- 1908 - 199629 boxes
The Personal papers series contains general personal materials, such as address books and financial papers, a large amount of journals and other informal writings, a set of materials relating to many of Delza's family members, and personal papers belonging to her husband, Cook Glassgold.
- undated20 boxes
The Correspondence series consists primarily of letters received by Sophia Delza in both a personal and professional capacity. In some instances, Delza retained drafts, carbon copies, or photocopies of letters she wrote. This material has been interfiled with the relevant letter(s) received when found. The dated copies of Delza's letters are most prevalent for the early 1960s (a period in which she was most actively touring and teaching in the United States and abroad). Delza's correspondents were numerous and varied, including many notable individuals from the literary, musical, and visual art communities, such as Ralph and Bena Mayer, Yehudi Menuhin, Christina Stead, and Leopold Stokowski. Frequent correspondents include friends living in China or with an interest in Chinese culture, including Edgar and Lois Snow and Sophia's tai chi teacher, Master Ma Yueh-liang. Correspondence with Delza family members has been filed in the Family papers sub-series. Letters between Sophia and her husband have been filed in the Cook Glassgold papers sub-series.
- undated7 boxes
The Performance and publicity files series contains material that documents Sophia Delza's wide-ranging professional career as a performer in both Western and Chinese dance forms. It also incorporates notes and scripts primarily used in lecture demonstrations. Programs, as well as a variety of publicity materials, and scrapbooks cover performances and personal appearances ranging from Sophia Delza's early modern dance concerts to her later appearances as a lecturer on tai chi and Chinese dance.
- undated11 boxes
This series contains manuscript drafts, notes, illustrations, and production materials relating to Delza's writing that was intended for publication. Delza published four books and numerous articles, both popular and scholarly, over the course of her career. In addition to her tai chi writing, Delza was a noted authority on Chinese classical theater, publishing an entry on dance in Chinese opera, as well as an article on the actor, Mei Lan-Fang in The International Encyclopedia of Dance (1998).
- undated7 boxes
The Research materials series consists of programs (probably of performances attended by Delza), subject files, and English translations of Chinese texts prepared for Delza
- undated2 boxes
The Teaching materials series is comprised of correspondence, accounts, catalogs, class lists, and other materials relating to Sophia Delza's work as a tai chi and dance instructor. Most of the material documents academic residencies. There is very little material present about Delza's long association with the United Nations T'ai Chi Club. Some additional information regarding the operations of Delza's private Carnegie Hall studio can be found in the Personal papers series.
- undated5 boxes
Sophia Delza probably was as prolific a visual artist as she was a writer. This series includes many drawings found individually or grouped together, as well as several sketchbooks. Artwork in a larger format, including many more finished watercolor paintings, can be found in the Oversized materials series.
- undated8 boxes
The Photographs series contains both candid and formal images of Sophia Delza, her family, and friends. It includes many professional studio photographs, as well as performance shots of Delza. There are also a large number of vacation photographs. The series also includes numerous photographs taken or collected by Delza's husband, Cook Glassgold.
- undated6 boxes
The Oversized materials series contains an awards plaque, printing blocks with engravings of Sophia Delza, school diplomas and a school photograph, broadsides, magazines, and original artwork, including several watercolor paintings, mainly depicting Chinese theater scenes. Also included are a collection of Chinese paper cuts and a 1932 photographic scrapbook of the Sino-Japanese war that may have been presented to Cook Glassgold. Of particular note are the music scores, some of which were created for Delza's original dance pieces, including works by Jack Eisenberg and Goddard Lieberson.